Chapter 36 | Acceptance
My mom and I sit at the dining room table completely stunned. My dad just confirmed my worst nightmare, though a part of me feels as though it was just a freak accident. My dad wouldn’t knowingly murder someone, right?
“Dad, you said you got so angry, that you punched him. You said you reached out to grab him before he actually fell. Do you know what that means?” I say, surprised that I’m actually trying to make him feel better, even after the events that happened last night.
“I honestly think about it every day. It still isn’t easy.” He sighs.
“It means that you didn’t purposely kill him. It means you acted in the heat of the moment, and realized it was a complete mistake. The only problem was that it was too late to do anything. You aren’t a murderer. Yes, what you did was horrible, and I can’t even imagine how bad you’ve felt all this time, knowing that you’re the reason Mr. Sage isn’t here anymore. But dad, you are not a murderer. You did not intentionally kill him.” I explain. I look over to see that my mom has tears in her eyes.
“But I... I hit him. I’m the one who caused him to fall.” He says while shaking his head. “It is my fault. I did kill him.”
“No, you just made a very bad mistake and because you tried to save him means you didn’t intentionally just push him off that machine and kill him. It means you just made a mistake, even though the consequence was severe.”
“No, stop it! Why are you trying to make me feel better? I did it! I hit him and he fell! I heard the loud smack as his body connected with the concrete. I saw the blood pouring from his ears and mouth. I saw his eyes wide open, while he was looking at nothing. I did it.” My dad is having some sort of panic attack. His breaths are rigid and my mom looks scared.
“Jon, please, calm down. You need to breathe!” My mom panics, standing up and walking over to him.
She places her hands gently on either side of his face, pulling him down to look at her.
“Look at me Jon. Breathe.”
My dad is finally able to calm down and suddenly, he walks over to me and lifts me up out of my seat.
“Dad, what are you-” but he cuts me off, and pulls me in for a hug.
I look to my mom who wipes a tear from her cheek and nods.
Slowly, I bring my arms up and hook them around my dad, hugging him back. I know I’m still mad at him for getting drunk and slapping me, but right now he’s scared and in a bad place. As his family, I need to be there for him, regardless of what else has happened.
“I am so sorry sweetheart. For everything. For last night. For your friend. For William. I’m just so sorry.” He cries into my shoulder, and I actually feel tears falling from his face and onto my shirt. My dad is crying, something he never does. Ever.
“I know dad... I know.” We pull apart and I step back to look at both my mom and dad.
“That’s why when I tell you that I’m going to invite Angie and her mom over later today so you can explain everything that you just explained to us, you need to agree. We need to settle this once and for all. We need to tell the complete truth and hope that they can somehow forgive our family.” I explain, and my mom nods.
“I think that’s a good idea.” She sadly smiles.
“Okay sweetie, whatever you want to do.” My dad agrees, and I nod before turning and going back upstairs to my room.
I grab my phone and text Angie that I need her and her mom to come over after school. When she asks why, I tell her that she needs to trust me. She agrees, so I put my phone down and go back downstairs to continue watching TV. It’s not like I have anything better to do until Angie and her mom get here.
| Angelica’s POV |
When the last bell rings, I get up and go out into the hallway.
“Angie!” I hear an annoying screech from behind. I roll my eyes and turn around to face Rebecca and her two obnoxious followers.
“Practice is today. Don’t be late.” She smiles.
“Actually, I can’t make it to practice today. I need to take care of something with Addie.” I say, as I shut my locker after pulling out my homework for the night.
“You can’t just ditch practice for Addie. You’re a part of this team. You need to set your priorities straight.” Rebecca says with a straight face.
“Yes, and I’m also Addie’s best friend. It’s something important, otherwise I would’ve told her it can wait.” I cross my arms over my chest for finality.
“Why didn’t you just drop her when you had the chance? You’re so much better without her.” Rebecca scoffs, placing a hand on her slim hip.
“You may be captain of the team Rebecca, but that doesn’t make you the boss of everything I do outside of the gym. She’s my friend. You wouldn’t understand what it’s like to have one of those, so I get how you feel it’s just easy for me to walk away.” I give her a pointed look, and her eyes turn to slits at my rude comment.
“Please, I’m Rebecca. Everyone is my friend.” She flips a piece of her red hair behind her shoulder and her two minions smirk at me as if they’re agreeing with Rebecca’s statement.
“Sure, Rebecca, sure. On a more serious and actual note, I need to go. I’m sorry if you’re mad. Kick me off the squad if you want to, but I can’t be at practice today.” I shrug as I sling my bag over my shoulder and begin to walk away.
“Gym, tomorrow, be there!” Rebecca yells after me, and I hold up my thumb to let her know I hear her.
“Hey beautiful.” I suddenly hear from behind me as I walk outside of the school building. I turn around and smile at Jax.
“Hey, how was your day?” I wrap my arms around his neck and pull him in for a sweet kiss.
“It’s great now.” He smirks, and then laughs at his cheesy line.
“Oh I bet it is.” I laugh.
“My place tonight?” He asks, stepping beside me to hold my hand. We intertwine our fingers together, and I honestly never knew something could feel so right, when everything else feels so unsure.
“Yeah, but first I have to go over to Addie’s with my mom.” I reply, as he turns to give me a funny look.
“Honestly, I’m not too sure, but she said to trust her so I am.” I shrug.
“Alright, well text me when you’re able to come over.” He kisses me once more and lets it linger for a few seconds before walking away and heading home. I start walking in the opposite direction to my house, so I can collect my mom.
“Mom!” I yell as I walk inside.
“In the kitchen!” She yells back, so I make my way into the kitchen. I see her cleaning out the fridge, even though she has just done this two days ago.
“Didn’t you already clean that?” I ask.
“Well, I saw a spot in the back I wasn’t happy with, so I just decided to do it all over again.” She shrugs, giving me a small smile.
I know that’s a lie. She cleaned the entire fridge spotless. I only know this, because she made me help her label all of the condiments. She’s only doing this to keep herself busy since she doesn’t have dad here to read to, or talk to. She doesn’t want to accept the fact that he’s gone and that she’s alone, so she’s using chores as a distraction.
I guess I understand that.
“Mom, we need to go over to Addie’s. She said it’s important that we both go.” I say, and my mom instantly stops wiping down the shelf.
“I don’t need to go over there. I don’t want to go over there.”
“Mom, I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important. Please.” I beg.
She takes a few moments to think, I assume, before she turns to me and nods.
“Fine, but only for a little bit.”
I give her a small smile and then grab my phone to tell Addie we are on the way.
Once we make it to Addie’s, Lindsey lets us both in.
“Please, come in.” She says, stepping aside so we can walk into the dining room.
“Have a seat.” Addie says, gesturing to the two chairs on the end of the table.
“So, what’s this about Lindsey?” My mom looks over to Addie’s mom.
“Jon here has some things to explain. About William.” She says, and I notice my mom’s body instantly tense.
She turns to me with a glare. “Why didn’t you tell me they wanted to talk about William? I wouldn’t have come here.” She scolds, and I sigh.
“Please mom, just listen to what he has to say.”
I give Addie a look and she sadly smiles.
“Alright, Jon. You have twenty minutes.”
In the entire twenty minutes, Jon explains in detail, everything that happened leading up to the incident that forever changed all of our lives.
“I cannot express how sorry I am for what happened, and I know nothing I say will undo it or bring him back... but I needed to say this to both of you. I needed to tell you the truth, and I needed to give you both the real closure you need.” Jon finishes.
“Closure? You hit him and he fell off that machine to his death! There is no closure for that, Jon. I know you didn’t intentionally mean to hurt him, and I know you both were arguing, but at the end of the day you still hit him. He still fell. He still died. I just... I don’t really know what else to say.” My mom sighs, and I notice the glossy look in her eyes. She’s trying not to cry. She’s trying to be strong.
I reach over and place my hand onto hers.
After hearing Jon’s truth, I’m still not sure if I can ever look at him the same again. He’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Addie and her entire family have, but I just can’t help but think that if he hadn’t of punched my dad, he would still be here with us. Our family wouldn’t be broken. My mom wouldn’t be broken.
I wouldn’t be broken.
“I know nothing I say will ever make that right, I just needed to say this to you both. I really hope that you don’t think differently of my family, especially Addie.” Jon says and I turn to look at Addie.
“Addie has been Angie’s friend since they were born. They’re practically sisters. I would absolutely hate to see their relationship suffer because of me and what happened.”
“Thank you Jon.” My mom nods, and I bring my eyes back over to her in surprise.
“Thank you for your honesty, and your words. I know you’re sorry for what happened, and I accept your apology. However, I can never forgive you for what you’ve done. My husband is gone. My husband, who I love very dearly, is gone and I’ll never see him again.”
I notice one tear escape from her eye.
“I cannot forgive you for that, but I accept your apology and I understand your side of the story. Whatever happened, happened. We can’t change it and we certainly can’t let anger keep us from living our lives. We all need to move forward, even if it’s hard. Angelica is welcome to come over here anytime she wants to be with Addie. I know their bond is something special, and I would never try to break that for them. They need each other now more than ever.” She nods. “Everything can only move forward from here on out.”
Jon and Lindsey both give small smiles to my mom, and I give one to Addie. I’m happy we heard the truth, and I’m happy my mom is able to get this closure. She may not see it now, but it’s in fact closure. It’s closing a chapter of her life, and moving onto a new one. I know it isn’t going to be easy, and I know she still has a lot of grieving to do... but I know that after today, she will stand just a little bit taller.
“Angie,” My mom turns to me, “You can stay for as long as you want, but I’m going home.” She gets up and I get up to give her a hug. We hold each other for a few moments before pulling away.
“I’m actually going to head over to Jaxon’s after I leave here, and then I’ll be home later tonight. I’m going to actually sleep in my own room tonight.” I smile, and my mom pulls me in for another hug.
“See you later, sweetie.” She waves and then says goodbye to everyone else before leaving.
“Thank you for that.” I say to Jon and Lindsey. “She needed to hear it.”
“And I needed to say it. Thank you for giving me that chance.” Jon replies as Addie walks over to me.
We look at each other for a few seconds, before immediately pulling the other in for a hug.
“I’m so sorry.” She whispers.
“Don’t be. I’m sorry.” I reply, and we notice Jon and Lindsey walk away and into the kitchen.
“I can’t believe that all of this happened. What a crazy year.” Addie sighs as we walk over into her living room to sit on the couch. She turns the TV on, but neither of us pay any attention to it.
“I know. It’s making my head spin.” I admit.
“I really am sorry. Not just about our fight, but about your dad. I had no idea that anything like that went down.”
“It’s okay, Addie. Neither one of us could’ve known. We were too young to understand.” I shrug, leaning back against the couch. “It’s all over now.” I frown.
I look over and notice her frown as well.
“So.” She says a little louder than usual. “Where do we go from here?”
“I guess we just try to move forward. Live our lives the best way we know how. Oh and also, we never, ever get drunk and almost sleep with each other’s spouse.” I point at her.
I know we both feel bad for laughing, but we’re only trying to make light of a really dark situation.
“You’re insane.” She says after catching her breath.
“Insanely awesome, I know.” I smirk.
“Hey... ” She says again after a few moments of silence.
I look over at her with a raised eyebrow and she instantly smiles. “Cradle to grave?”
I nod with a smile of my own, as she quotes a line from an old episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
“Cradle to grave.”
Then, we both watch TV as if it is any other day.